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8 Days Classic Yunnan Tour

Far from the Madding Crowd


Historically, culturally and geographically, Yunnan Province is one of the most diverse and alluring destinations in China. In the 8 days, you’ll visit Yi, Bai, Naxi ethnic groups’ land and the legendary Shangri-La. The most magnificent scenery and colorful ethnic culture of Yunnan are waiting to be explored, from ancient town to snow mountain, from the world’s deepest canyon to notable limestone formations...all makes you get far from the madding crowd!

Highlights of this tour:

  • Meet the friendly ethnic groups – Yi, Bai, Naxi, Tibetan in all the destinations;
  • Walk and explore joyfully in historical town between Cangshan Mountain and Erhai Lake;
  • Be attracted by the mysterious Dongba culture when visiting appealing old towns in Lijiang;
  • Lose yourselves in the most peaceful and harmonious earthly paradise to meet your true self.

Basic Trip Information

Travel Route:
Kunming / Dali / Lijiang / Shangri-La
Travel Length:
8 Days & 7 Nights
Tour Code:
Group Size:
You, your family & friends
Any day you want

Your tour - at a glance

Day 1~2 Arrival & Kunming Tour

Explore the best of Kunming by extending to Stone Forest to marvel at natural stone masterpieces and admire Yi minority costumes and cultures in a minority village near Stone Forest.

Day 3 Flight to Dali & Dali Tour

Have some leisure time in the Bai ethnic treasure land by visiting Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Temple, Erhai Lake and Dali Old Town.

Day 4~5 Dali to Lijiang & Lijiang Tour

Get in-depth understanding about Bai people when visiting Xizhou Ancient Town and its morning market. Stand at Wangu Tower to have panoramic view of Lijiang Old Town with numerous Naxi folk residences.

Day 6~8 Lijiang to Shangri-La & Shangri-La Tour & Departure

On the way from Lijiang to Shangri-La, visit the First Bend of Yangtze River and thrilling Tiger Leaping Gorge. Explore Shangri-La by visiting Pudacuo National Park, Songzanlin Monastery and Dukezong Old Town, Tibetan local family, etc.

Full Itinerary Day by day

Day 1 Kunming Arrival

Ni Hao, welcome to Kunming, City of Eternal Spring! You will be met by local tour guide at the arrival hall of Kunming Changshui Airport and escorted to check in your hotel in downtown by a private comfortable vehicle. If you want to explore nearly, feel free to get some practical suggestions from your tour guide.

Arrival Ideas: Travelers from more than 140 cities (international and domestic cities included) can take flights to Kunming. Also, travelers can take high speed trains to Kunming from Guangzhou (about 6hrs), Shenzhen (about 7hrs), Changsha (about 6hrs), Shanghai (about 12hrs) and Beijing (about 12hrs), etc.

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Day 2 Kunming (B, L)

After breakfast, drive 85 km to the typical Karst landform - Stone Forest. Walk into the Greater Stone Forest, marvel at groups of gray-black stone peaks and climb up to have a panoramic view of the intricate stone forest. Visit the Lesser Stone Forest and listen to the legendary story of “Ashima”. It will be a real treat to visit the extraordinary natural stone forest.

Later, it is followed by a trip to a minority village of Sani People to admire their colorful minority costumes and exotic tradition culture. If visit in lunar June 24, you could attend the grand Torch Festival and enjoy some exciting activities with the local ethnic group.

  • Stone Forest Stone Forest
  • Lesser Stone Forest Lesser Stone Forest

Day 3 Flight to Dali from Kunming (B, L)

On this day, be escorted to Kunming Airport and take morning flight to Dali (about 50 mins), a historical and cultural city for Bai ethnic group. Upon arrival, you will be welcomed by the local tour guide and transferred to begin today’s sightseeing.

You’ll first visit Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Monastery, the landmark of Dali with a history of over 1800 years located at the foot of Cangshan Mountain facing to the Erhai Lake. Visit Three Pagodas (Qianxun Pagoda and other two sibling pagodas forming a symmetric triangle), Chongsheng Monastery and Reflection Lake and know more history of Kingdom of Nanzhao and Kingdom of Dali.

Later, head to Erhai Lake and take a cruise to Jinsuo Islet in the east Erhai Lake. There are 200 Bai ethnic families around 1000 people in Jinsuo Island. On Erhai Lake cruise, you’ll enjoy the green Cangshan Mountain and Three Pagodas from afar as well as lots of birds and seagulls flying over the lake.

After the peaceful time, transfer to Dali Old Town which has a history of more than 1200 years. In the town, you’ll enjoy the City Wall, Gate-towers, elegant streets, small and exquisite courtyards, colorful flowers blooming in the sunshine. Climb up to Wuhua Tower and enjoy panoramic view of the whole old town. It feels like time goes back.

  • Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Monastery Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Monastery
  • Erhai Lake Erhai Lake
  • Dali Old Town Dali Old Town

Day 4 Dali - Lijiang (B, L)

In the morning, drive about 18 km to Xizhou Ancient Town which was once a commercial center of Yunnan province. More than 1500 years ago, Xizhou and nearby area have been the major habitat for Bai ethnic group. A visit to Xizhou is to enjoy the Bai minority culture, ethnic tradition of the Three Courses of Tea, the local people’s daily life and Bai architecture. Attend Morning Market in Xizhou and see local people trading daily supplies, including fresh vegetable, fruits, meats and many kinds of food and daily necessities. It offers a great opportunity to get close to local living conditions.

Later, transfer to Lijiang with 2-hour driving. Upon arrival, you’ll start your memorable Lijiang tour from Lijiang Ancient Town. Get on the top of Lion Hill and enjoy a panoramic view of fascinating old city, Lijiang new city and Naxi folk residences and farmlands from Wangu Tower. Take a relaxing walk in the intricate old town and figure out why it is listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site.

  • Xizhou Ancient Town Xizhou Ancient Town
  • Three Courses of Tea Three Courses of Tea
  • Lijiang Ancient Town Lijiang Ancient Town

Day 5 Lijiang (B, L)

After breakfast, drive 20 km to Yuhu Village which is located at the foot of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. When walking into this authentic Naxi Village, you’ll see unique stone houses, Naxi ladies dressing in traditional clothes, kids playing, a tranquil Yuhu Lake…explore leisurely around the village and then get to the Former Residence of Joseph Rock, who was an Austrian-American Botanist came to Lijiang and stayed in Yuhu Village for 27 years and made huge research work on Naxi minority.

Later, head to Baisha Village and appreciate the ancient Baisha Mural Paintings. Visit Dabaoji Palace and Liuli Temple to view murals painted over 1000 years ago which is a combination of Tibetan Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism. Then, it is followed by a trip to Shuhe Ancient Town - one of the earliest settlements of Naxi people as well as the well-preserved stop of the Ancient Tea Horse Route. 

After that, transfer to Dongba Culture Museum where more than 10,000 Dongba cultural relics show mysterious Dongba culture of the Naxi people. Take a gentle walk to Black Dragon Pool Park to enjoy gorgeous view and peaceful surroundings.

  • Black Dragon Pool Park Black Dragon Pool Park
  • Former Residence of Joseph Rock Former Residence of Joseph Rock
  • Baisha Mural Paintings Baisha Mural Paintings

Day 6 Lijiang - Shangri-La (B, L)

After breakfast, drive 45 km to view the First Bend of Yangtze River, an extraordinary turn nearly about 180 degrees with beautiful and marvelous views like a wonderful landscape painting unfolding before you. Visit Iron Chain Bridge in Shigu (Stone Drum) Town.

Later, transfer to visit the one of the deepest and most spectacular river canyons in the world - Tiger Leaping Gorge. It measures 16 km in length and is a giddy 3900m from the waters of Jinsha River to Haba Snow Mountain and Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. It is divided into three parts:  Upper, Middle and Lower Tiger Leaping Gorge. You’ll hike the upper part (the narrowest section of the gorge) and walk about 2.6 kilometers along the plank road from the entrance to the Tiger Leaping Rock. Take a moment to enjoy the magnificent gorge view and rolling waves.

After the hiking tour, you’ll be driven to Shangri-La, about 2 hours. Enjoy the enchanting natural scenery along the way. Upon arrival, check in your hotel and feel free to explore Shangri-La on your own.

  • First Bend of the Yangtze River First Bend of the Yangtze River
  • Upper Tiger Leaping Gorge Upper Tiger Leaping Gorge
  • Tiger Leaping Gorge Middle Tiger Leaping Gorge

Day 7 Shangri-La (B, L)

Today is a full day to explore the earthly paradise described in the famous novel Lost Horizon by James Hilton.

You’ll first visit Songzanlin Monastery, reputed as the Little Potala Palace. Established by the Fifth Dalai Lama in 1679, the monastery belongs to Gelug sect of Buddhism, and it is also the largest Buddhist monastery in Yunnan. Walk 143 steps to get atop of the monastery and pay clockwise visit to the major lamasery buildings and get in-depth understanding about Tibetan Buddhism. If time permits, take some quiet time to walk around the peaceful Lamuyangcuo Lake and enjoy the breathtaking scenery of this pure land.

Later, drive to the first national park in China - Pudacuo National Park. Throw yourselves into the lush green forest with diverse species of flora and fauna, walk along the plank road to catch the gorgeous scenery of Shudu Lake (hike 3.3 km, about 1 hr) and Bita Lake (hike 4.2 km, about 1.5hrs ) and seek for a real paradise in this natural wonderland. (Note: the altitude of Pudacuo is at 3500m-4150m and you should avoid strong activities. There’s no problem to hike in the park.) After the merry time in the park, pay a visit to a local Tibetan family and experience the highly-praised hospitality of Tibetan people.

Optional Activity: You could take a boat sailing on Shudu Lake or Bita Lake to save energy and time instead of walking all the way.

Importance Notice: Militang Pasture (弥里塘草场) and Bita Lake (碧塔海) in Pudacuo National Park are closed for tourists due to maintainance from 3th September, 2017. The administrative office of Pudacuo National Park hasn't confirmed when they will be open exactly. Shudu Lake Scenic Area (属都湖) is still open for tourists. Please contact your travel consultant to adjust your itinerary.

  • Pudacuo National Park Pudacuo National Park
  • Shangri-La Songzanlin Monastery Outside Scenery Shangri-La Songzanlin Monastery Outside Scenery
  • Songzanlin Monastery Songzanlin Monastery

Day 8 Shangri-La Departure (B)

In the morning, cherish your time in Shangri-La to explore Dukezong Old Town by climbing up to the top of Guishan Hill (or Tortoise Hill) to have a panoramic view of the old town and Shangri-La County and join in the tourists to turn the largest Prayer Wheel in the world. (Please note: In Jan.2014, a huge fire broke out destroying most of the town. Now you could visit the area around Guishan Hill.)

After the tour, be escorted to the Shangri-La Zhongdian Airport for your flight to next destination.

Departure Ideas: Travelers can take flights from Shangri-La to Kunming, Lhasa, Chengdu, Chongqing, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and more cities.

  • Dukezong Old Town Dukezong Old Town
  • Guishan Hill Guishan Hill
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